tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN October 25, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
then his son contacted a charity that helped him get home. >> shocking and surprising and thrilling at the same time. i don't want to sound cliche, but it was like a fairytale. >> it was. because right now that's a fairytale ending for people trying to get it out of the place. >> thank goodness he made the wedding. great to see you guys this morning. thanks so much. it has been a busy 24 hours, hasn't it? so let's get to it. good morning, everyone. top of the hour. i am poppy harlow. >> i am john berman. the president calls his relationship with senate republicans a lovefest, but to quote the word lovefest, i don't think it means when you think it means. >> every morning, case in point, jeff flake fresh off his public
announcement that more republicans will follow. >> i believe more of them will speak out in the future. i hope we have reached a tipping point of some type where we don't continue to normalize by being silent the behavior we have seen. i felt it was important to give a speech and i hope we move in a different direction. >> this morning the president said senator flake and bob corker are just sore losers. he writes they had zero chance of being elected now act so hurt and wounded. this is continuing clearly this morning. our joe johns is at the white house with the latest. flake says more republicans are going to speak out, not naming any. intriguing. >> definitely intriguing, poppy, and that is the big question. what does it all mean, and where
is this all headed. he did say, yes, or thinks a number of other senators will speak out. some senators have already spoken out. john mccain of arizona, which is interesting, like jeff flake along with susan collins of maine, and lindsay graham raisediraise issues. the president scoffing to the idea referring to the meeting with all of the republican senators saying jeff flake with 18% approval rating saying a lot of colleagues have spoken out. really? they just gave me a standing o. it's whether the apple cart could be upset through all of this especially when the president's biggest signature item, the thing he campaigned on the most, a big tax cut in tax reform is coming down the pike on capitol hill. there are concerns it could
create a lot more deficit spending. jeff flake, for example, has been a deficit hawk going back to the days in the house of representatives, but when asked this morning about it he did not show any signs of backing down or bucking the president and his own party on the issue of tax cuts and tax reform. >> if we don't get tax reform, not just tax cuts but tax reform there will be great disappointment out there, and people will say you can't just blame the congress. there's always a honeymoon period the administration enjoys and people give a little slack, but we are coming to a point where we have to get big things done. >> senator bob corker and another senator that went after the president yesterday said he would like to see a tax plan go through as well but he is very critical and very concerned
about the possibility of increased deficit spending. back to you. >> joe johns at the white house. a lot to discuss this morning. cnn senior political analyst, david gergen, and betsy woodruff. we all used a lot of apblg steufsteu adjectives, remarkable, stunning. but what has really changed? >> i think what has changed, john, and it's significant, is that two senators have broken in a very, very complete way that invites commentary and more criticism of the president both within the senate and among conservatives and conservative pundits around the country. i think the real issue, though, is whether corker and flake have moved from fairly reliable to unreliable allies for the president as he pursues his
agenda. as you know the trump white house can't lose more than two votes in the senate in order to get something through, and now you have corker, flake, mccain, susan collins all in this -- do you have them or not? so it could give the descenters more leverage go into the negotiations ahead over tax reform, which is always contentious anyway with the tax cuts. >> it's a good point, but the question becomes will they vote against something they believe in? corker has power when it comes to taxes, but would you expect he and mccain and a third republican senator to vote against tax reform because they don't like the man, the president, personally? >> i think that's very unlikely. i would be quite surprised to see members like flake and corker to vote against the tax package just to spite the president.
it's important not to understate the extent in which these problems are deeply unstated. corker started to speak out against the president with charlottesville. one thing i was told was that a major tipping point for him was the way the president responded to the death in charlottesville, and then in an opt ed, it was mentioned the response to charlottesville that he could not be part of the same party as president trump. news cycles tend to move past events like that, on capitol hill, that memory is fresh and powerful. >> my kichael bender, your piecn
the washington journal, it's the forces of steve bannon that thinks it's tipping their way. the days of establishment republicans who oppose the peoples' america first agenda are numbered. any way to argue that steve bannon is not winning the battle for the republican party right now? >> i don't think so. that's a good public service announcement from steve bannon to the rest of the party. i think what we saw yesterday is for all the drama inside the u.s. capitol, and it was a stunning day. we went through the list of adjectives earlier, and all the momentum seems to be for the folks outside of the capital, the steve bannons of the world that are checking off a list of their victories here starting with alabama, and he and his allies were looking at challenging corker not too long ago. corker is retiring, and now flake. so they, from outside the
capitol, they say it as the momentum is on their side and they are winning this fight. >> david gergen, flake, fascinating what he said to alisyn camerota this morning on "new day," he thinks other republicans will speak out soon on this meaning they have told him in private they feel the same way. who would you have your eye on to do that, because he didn't name names? >> that's an interesting question. i don't know the individuals well enough to know exactly who would break, but i would assume some of the moderates are under a lot of pressure internally. i think the susan collins of the world are under some pressure to take a firmer stand. one of the thing that happens when senators break like this, i don't think the dam is going to break and there will be a whole lot of senators, and there could be one, two, three, and those are significant numbers when you have such a modest majority.
let's say the republicans are going to have to make tough calls on the budget in the next few weeks, and that is how are they going to get the spending down so they get the deficits down, and corker said he wants to pass a bill and he has a limit on how much deficit spending he will accept and then he's off the train, and that gives him bargaining power, and he can say if you want my vote, this is what i say and i am not backing down. >> yesterday we saw the incumbent senator from mississippi being critical of bob corker, not trump. and i think the pressure will grow on corker and flake and not on trump. >> yeah, he said it to john on our show. stay with us, because we want you to weigh in on this big reporting out of the "washington
post," new information about who bank rolled the alleged dossier with ties to russia, and the dnc and hillary clinton campaign funded that research. >> the same firm retained to do research for anti-trump republicans during the republican primary, and jessica snyder joins us from washington with all the details. >> of course that now infamous dossier became public in january. it was after fbi james comey personally briefed the president on its contents. now we are learning from a source it was, in fact, the clinton campaign and the dnc that funded the research. they retained the research firm and the contract for research services began in april of 2016, just as donald trump was taking
the lead in the primaries. cnn reported the anti-trump research was initially funded by the anti-trump gop. he said i regret i did not know about christopher steele's hiring preelection. we also heard from sarah sanders tweeting as well last night, saying the real russian scandal, clinton campaign paid for the fake russia dossier, and then lied about it and covered it up. of course sources told cnn that special council mueller's investigative team did meet with christopher steele over the summer and that was part of the russia investigation. and the latest news in this, the
research service has been subpoenaed by tknunez, and he wants the bank records that might lead to even more information about what was discovered, who else funded this, and who else might have been involved in this. they are now in court playing this out. fusion gps saying it's a first amendment issue and they should not have to hand over their bank records. a court date is scheduled for that tomorrow, and this could continue to develop here about this dossier. >> thank you so much. betsy, you have done your own reporting and you found this is exactly the subject that republicans would like to focus on, particularly the house intelligence committee. they have been pushing this? >> exactly. devin nunez is the chair of the committee. there was speculation, indication, conversation that he recused himself after the midnight visit to the white house back in april, and in
reality, however, nunez is very much a driving force behind the work that republican staffers on the intelligence committee are doing related to these broader russia questions. for all practical purposes, there's the work going on more public, and interviews taking place in the basement of the capitol, and then there's work nunez and his top staffers are doing, and much of the work is trying to discredit the dossier and the work gps did, and now we know that clinton and the dnc funded that dossier, and that's useful to nunez. and we know about it because of a letter that was released as part of the back and forth in court over nunez' subpoena.
it's plausible if nunez had not subpoenaed the bank we would not know about the dnc and hillary clinton's funding of the case. >> if you ask about this, he says the clinton campaign lawyer lied to him, and here's what he writes. when i tried to report this story, the attorney for clinton pushed back and said you and your sources are wrong, and how big of a deal is it if the campaign lawyer lied to him about it? >> i am not sure what ken's reporting was, and i have no reason to doubt it, and you are aware of the game here in washington where the truth is -- it comes in shades, and lawyers and pr folks shade it in order
to push their own version of the truth here. i think in this case, the facts that we know now, we're in a situation here where there's a rare situation where the spin from both sides here, from trump world and clinton world looks to be right. you showed fallon's tweet earlier, and based on what we know now, there's nothing wrong with opposition research, and it looks like this went through the normal channels to do so, and inside the white house this backs up their argument that this is politically driven, and has roots going back to clinton, if not, you know, establishment republicans who were trying to keep trump out of the race. >> we will speak to brian fallon who was a spokesperson for the campaign. whoever funded this dossier, and we know it was people associated
with the clinton campaign and dnc, and the intelligence community corroborated parts of it, and the mueller investigation goes on no matter who funded the dossier? >> it does. like a big aircraft carrier, it just keeps moving through the water while we have spats on the side. i do think that, yes, it is true that campaigns do a lot of opposition research and sometimes pay for it, so there's nothing earth shaking about that, and what i do find is the hillary clinton and dnc have been paying for this, it has an unsavory quality about it, and it looks like they were trying to frame trump in some way. it loses credibility if it has been paid for by the democrats.
it's from that the republican standpoint and the trump standpoint, it's a gift they have because they can muddy the waters with it. >> we will see what brian fallon says. >> we will. >> senator jeff flake says get ready for more republican senators to speak out against the president. where are they and what does that mean for the agenda? plus, new information about what the u.s. troops were doing in niger before they were ambushed? how does a tiny montana company land a huge contract in puerto rico to rebuild, and alleged ties to the trump administration, just ahead. (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom? what's the value of a walk in the woods?
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president trump taking new shots at members of his own party this morning. >> with tax reform on the agenda and the midterms around the corner, can he afford a fight within his own party? here to talk about that and more republican senator of idaho. let's begin with your position on those committees and something of great substance and importance and that's the investigation of what happened in niger, and a lot of the briefings you have gotten is classified, but we have learned that these men were on a mission to hunt down information on a suspected terrorists. anything else you know? >> well, as you pointed out, this stuff is all classified at this point. there will be an investigation. look, we do and review investigative fashion a look through of everything that happened whenever we have an event like this, or a counter
intelligence operation anywhere in the world whether it turns out well as here where it didn't turn out quite as well. and always looking to make things better and it will be looked at closely and critically. there will be more information available on this. >> we look forward to looking into it after you get that briefing. we have heard from senator jeff flake and bob koecorker repudiag the president of the united states. do any of their criticisms strike a cord with you? >> i know bob corker very well. i sit next to him and have for sometime on the foreign relationships committee, and he's a good friend and great senator, and very competent. i feel the same way about jeff flake. great guy, good senator. they have individual issues with the president. these things are all personality
driven, and it's unfortunate that this leaked out over into the public, and they are going to have to resolve those issues between themselves. look, i look at it differently than you do, and it has been a little over a year and a half ago where we had 17 people running for the republican nomination, and it was a robust discussion amongst them, and there were personality clashes there, and so many and so often, you people in the national media had trouble keeping up with it. it's not a lot different now than it was then except the field is narrower. you hope these things can be resolved, but they are always personality driven and these are. >> senator, the thing is they would say it's not personality driven, this is driven by things of great importance like comments that mexicans are rapists, or equating white supremacists that are protesting
against their evil beliefs. that's what these fellow members of congress are now saying and you are seeing them not running, and do you fear it hurts the party overall, does it weaken the republican party? >> obviously when you have these things going on, there will be pockets of dissolution. there's no question about that. you always hope to pull it together. poppy, my first election was 1970. i have been doing this for almost half a century. i have been a member of the republican party all that period of time. i have seen ups and downs, and i have seen the clashes, and we get through these things. obviously you wish they would come out better. it should be obvious to everybody by now that we have a president who has a very unique personality, very different than what we have seen in a president before, and he communicates and handles differently, and it causes some grief with some
people. but we are americans, and we get through it, and in my positions i deal with europeans all the time, and they are ringing their hands, and i say, look, we have been through civil wars and world wars, and a depression, and we will be standing when this is over. we were founded in revolution and in kidiscord and it's probay going to go on as long as the nation stands. >> let's talk about it. you bring up foreign countries here and you say it's all personal between the two senators, but bob corker is the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, and he says i think what foreign countries believe is that what trump says is untrue. >> that's his view on it. the leaders i deal with are concerned with our commitment to
allies, and that was tamped down tremendously when the president pulled the trigger twice, once in afghanistan, and once in syria, and they were very glad to see that america was going to stand up and that america was back again, particularly for our allies, particularly, for instance, the nato countries. they were very interested that america was going to stand by them, and we assured them we would be a robust member of nato. the president picked out one part of nato that was giving us grief, and that was the economic aspects and he turned that around. >> what is your bar of calling out the president, because you refuse to do so thus far on anything since he has been president, and you say it's all personal, and before the election, your words, you were disgusted by the vulgar and indefensible relations talking
about then-candidate donald trump, and if it was so important for you to call him out then when he was not president why hesitate to do it now when he is president. >> i stand by the remarks i made then, and it was after the revelations of the now infamous tape that was revealed by nbc, the talk that was -- the banter going back between the two gentlemen, i don't think anybody had any use for that. the man now is president of the united states, and i know there's a lot of people that reject that fact, but he is the president of the united states. it's in the interests of every single american to see that the president is successful. i want to see the president successful. i suspect you want to see the president successful. if he is, america will be successful. we need to work with him. look, i have had disagreements with the president of the united states, and i had disagreements
before he was president and disagreements now, and you sit down and resolve those as fast as you can, and going public with name calling and that sort of thing is not a good way to handle these things. i prefer to handle the issues that i have personally as opposed to going on twitter or tv or what have you and doing it that way. >> thanks for coming on tv with us, senator. >> thank you. >> big win for wall street this morning. the senate narrowly voted to kill a rule that makes it easier for americans to band together to subbe banks and credit card companies. >> the fine print is these rules, these clauses that keep you out of court, basically, meaning you have to go to a arbitration if you have a dispute with your credit card
company. and there's a new rule that just went into effect july 1st that would allow you to band together with others and subban bge bank. yesterday it was struck down, so this protection is now gone. a lot of folks said, look, in the case of wells fargo, it was hard to sue wells fargo and this would have made it easier, so that was a real case. the stock market down just a few points, and we are close to record highs here. we have hit 23,000 -- look at that, all of these milestones. doesn't take much to hit a record high. and take a look at the current bull market now, the second longest on record. the big question is, is it's too
frothy, and will tax cuts alone keep carrying the bull market along. >> thank you so much for being us wi with us. > stay with us. let's begin. yes or no? do you want the same tools and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes? good, then it's time for power e*trade. the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. looks like we have a couple seconds left. let's do some card twirling twirling cards e*trade. the original place to invest online.
t-mobile's unlimited now includes netflix on us. that's right. netflix on us. get 4 unlimited lines for just $40 bucks each. taxes and fees included. and now netflix included. so go ahead. binge on us. another reason why t-mobile is america's best unlimited network. he's brought us to the obstructed justice at the fbi. and in direct violation of the constitution, he's taken money from foreign governments and threatened to shut down news organizations that report the truth. if that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become? i'm tom steyer and, like you, i'm a citizen who knows it's up to us to do something. it's why i'm funding this effort to raise our voices together and demand that elected officials take a stand on impeachment.
a republican congress once impeached a president for far less. yet, today, people in congress and his own administration know this president is a clear and present danger who is mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons. and they do nothing. join us and tell your member of congress that they have a moral responsibility to stop doing what's political and start doing what's right. our country depends on it.
we are learning new details this morning about the four u.s. troops killed by isis militants in niger. officials say this was one of the team's first missions. >> we learned they were gathering intelligence about a suspect the terror leader when they were ambushed. ryan young is at the pentagon with the details.
>> we are learning new additional information about what exactly happened in the ambush that left four u.s. soldiers dead, two wounded and five nigeren troops killed. they were conducting a routine patrol when they were asked to investigate a location that had believed to be a one-time location of a terror leader in niger. they never expected to run into any enemy forces. this was not a kinetic aggressive capture or kill operation. they were just collecting intelligence. they did not find any enemy forces and they were on their way back and stopped in a local village to resupply their nigeren allies, and then they learned locals may have tipped off to isis affiliated fighters that staged an ambush using
motors and rocket-propelled grenades, and it was this incident where the u.s. forces suffered their casualties. what is unknown is still how sergeant johnson was separated from his unit a mile from the rest of his team, and his body was missing for 48 hours, and that's the investigation being led by a two-star general is being looked at. a better picture in terms of what exactly this team was doing out there in this remote part of this west african country. >> as senator rich just told us, he's getting classified information and we should learn more as they release the details. thank you. new information about the trump and russia dossier. it was paid in part by the dnc and the clinton campaign.
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new details this morning on the link between the clinton campaign and that dossier on president trump's alleged connections with russia. sources tell cnn the presidential campaign and the democratic national committee helped to pay for the dossier. >> adam, remind us what the dossier is and what it means the clinton campaign and the dnc helped to provide money for it. >> the dossier itself is a misnomer. it's a collection of reports written by a former british intelligence officer named christopher steele who is working for fusion gps, who was
hired by a lawyer who was representing the clinton campaign. what he did was, he was based in moscow and went back to his long-time sources and got information about the connections between trump and russia, or some of these connections. he wrote them in a report and the information was passed to the campaign through this lawyer. although we are not exactly clear who in the campaign saw chris steele's actual reports, if anybody. what this really means is that this -- clearly this report was paid for by the clinton campaign and it was not paid for by just any democrat. this was actually the clinton campaign funding it through this cutout, and obviously that raises questions that some are pointed to, and certainly the republicans are pointed to to raise questions about the contents of the dossier. >> one of the big questions is was everybody on team clinton
forthcoming about this, especially the lawyer that helped to facilitate this, as is typical with the research, and you have sarah sanders saying the real story is they covered it up. a republican early on in the campaign started paying for this, and when it didn't matter anymore the dnc and the clinton campaign took over and did the lawyer lie about it? >> he never lied to me. i am not sure where the white house spokesperson is basing that accusation. >> they are talking about ken vogel's reporting in the times, saying your sources are wrong. >> i have not experienced that myself. that said, it could be other reporters were steered away from the story before we broke it
yesterday. one thing i want to clarify, and just make clear, what steele reported, some was that russia wanted to help trump and there were connections, and it's at the heart of the u.s. intelligence community's assessment which was made public in january. while some has been validated, some of the more salacious details in the dossier have not. we understand better now who was behind this effort. >> you bring up a very crucial point here, and much of the same information, the intelligence community has corroborated, whoever paid for it, corroborated the information that was in there to begin with. >> this is standard practice for all campaigns, and as you mentioned the original funding for fusion gps to investigate trump as a candidate came from a
still unknown republican client. you know, that said, you know, christoph christopher steele, the former british subcontractor is not hired until after the democrats take over that account. >> very important point. congratulations, you and your team breaking this story. thank you. ahead, just two employees when it was awarded a huge $300 million contract to repair puerto rico's electrical grid. how did this tiny company win that contract, next. by listening to an thiaudiobook on audible.ame and this guy is just trying to get through the day. keeping it together.
to shut down news organizations that report the truth. if that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become? i'm tom steyer and, like you, i'm a citizen who knows it's up to us to do something. it's why i'm funding this effort to raise our voices together and demand that elected officials take a stand on impeachment. a republican congress once impeached a president for far less. yet, today, people in congress and his own administration know this president is a clear and present danger who is mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons. and they do nothing. join us and tell your member of congress that they have a moral responsibility to stop doing what's political and start doing what's right. our country depends on it.
this morning, the death toll in puerto rico after hurricane maria has gone up once again, 51 people are now confirmed dead as a result. >> the latest two victims died from bacteria found in animal waste. it can spread after flooding, especially if people come in contact with contaminated water. also this morning, 75% of puerto rico still without power. now lawmakers from both parties want to know how one tiny power company got one big $300 million contract to help. >> the company is whitefish energy, it's just two years old, and until just recently, had only two full-time employees based in whitefish, montana. that is the hometown of interior secretary, ryan zinke. now, members of congress say that's fishy. they're calling for a review. our rene marsh is all over it for us. this is not just democrats. this is not just split down partisan line. this is republicans and democrats that want answers. >> reporter: they're very curious about the process of how all this went down. whether this is a coincidence as far as these connections or
something more coordinated remains unclear, but this morning, there are calls for a full-fledged investigation coming from capitol hill. how many employees does it take to win the biggest power restoration contract in puerto rico? well, just two, at a company in northwest montana. that unlikely answer is now puzzling many in washington. >> this is our mobile command center that we brought down for the storm. >> reporter: whitefish energy holdings is just two years old and had just two staffers when hurricane maria struck puerto rico last month. yet on september 26th, it was awarded a contract worth up to $300 million to rebuild part of the island's decimated power grid. the company now has hundreds of contractors working on the island and a goal to ramp up to a thousand. >> we plan to be here until everyone has power. >> reporter: but its home base is a world away in whitefish, montana. one of the most well-known residents in the small town of about 7,000 is interior
secretary, ryan zinke. >> as the son of a plumber and grew up in a small railroad town in whitefish near glacier park. >> reporter: whitefish ceo, andrew tesmansky knows zinke and says he's been in touch with the secretary directly to free up more resources. a spokeswoman at the interior department tells cnn that zinke did not reply to the request and played no role in awarding the contract, but acknowledges that he sent zinke an e-mail. she added, day know each other because they both live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. adding to the mix, the financier behind whitefish energy is an investment firm founded by republican donor, joe collineta. he and his wife contributed more than $20,000 to donald trump's presidential campaign and more than $30,000 to the rnc last year alone. but whitefish told cnn's bill
we're, there's nothing fishy about its contract with puerto rico. >> you're a brand-new company, right? >> we've been around for a few years. you know, we specialize in difficult and mountainous terrain projects. so, alls i can say is we took the call and we're here. >> reporter: they called you? >> we called each other. >> reporter: on the other end of that phone call, prepa, puerto rico's publicly owned utility company. its director told cnn the cash-strapped island chose whitefish because it didn't require a deposit. >> translator: in that moment, we were not in a position to offer that collateral. the other company did not ask for a guarantee of payment. >> reporter: while no wrongdoing is being alleged, democratic congresswoman velazquez is demanding answers. >> we need to protect taxpayers, but we also need to protect the people of puerto rico and the way to do that is by making sure that we hire the company that has the experience and the
capability. >> well, whitefish energy and the interior department says there was no coordination on awarding the contract. however, they both made that point by using nearly identical statements. i want you to take a look at part of the statement we got from the interior department. it says, the zinkes and techmanskies know each other because they both live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. and you look at the same statement from the company. i want says, our ceo and the secretary know each other because they both live in a small town where everybody knows everyone. you know, again, they are pretty, pretty steadfast saying that they did not coordinate this and a spokesperson for the energy company spoke with cnn yesterday and they said that they only communicated with the interior department via e-mail after they secured the contract in puerto rico. poppy? john? >> look, let's hope they can do the job, because millions of people are depending on them. rene marsh, thanks so much.
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